Federal courts will consider whether President Obama’s health insurance mandate violates the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech, according to a court filing from the conservative legal group FreedomWorks.
The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that the president’s law is unconstitutional because it requires Americans to buy insurance or face penalties.
The filing, which is the first in the nation’s history to consider the issue, also says that the Obama administration is likely to win on the constitutionality of the law, since the law requires the federal government to regulate most aspects of health care.
The administration has argued that the mandate, enacted in the health care overhaul passed by Congress last year, violates the First Amendment.
The administration argued in court filings that the law violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by placing an undue burden on businesses and individuals to buy health insurance.
The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in San Francisco, seeks to block enforcement of the mandate.
The law has already led to a steep drop in the number of uninsured Americans, and the administration has said it is not targeting anyone for a penalty.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, David Boies, said that the government’s motion was the result of a concerted effort to attack the president and his administration.
The mandate requires insurers to offer plans with essential health benefits such as maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health services and prescription drugs for chronic diseases.
The mandate also requires businesses to offer a broad range of insurance plans and charge patients more for them, Boies said.
A federal appeals court in Chicago, which upheld the mandate in December, has also ruled that it is constitutional.
The Trump administration and the plaintiffs are also trying to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in April that blocked enforcement of parts of the health law that could be used to implement the mandate and prevent people from enrolling in new plans.
The Supreme Court has not ruled on whether the Obama-era rule applies to the health insurance marketplaces in any way.